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The Adelaide gum tree going viral in Singapore


Do you recognise this tree? The lone Adelaide eucalypt has gone viral in Singapore after it played a strange cameo in a bizarre family drama that is threatening to tear down the republic’s most powerful political clan.

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong snapped a photograph of the gum tree bathed in the light of the “golden hour in Adelaide” last week, and posted it on his Facebook page – which is followed by more than 1.17 million people.

The post has garnered more than 1000 comments and amassed more than 17,000 likes, along with a range of other emoji responses ranging from ‘loves’ and a smattering of shocked, angry and sad faces.

If you’re wondering why a simple photo of a tree has prompted such an intense public response, it’s because it was posted amid a week of high drama for Singapore’s PM, with a very public fallout with his younger siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling – which has also played out on Facebook.

LHL fronts the People’s Action Party, which has been in power since 1959, and was co-founded by the three siblings’ father Lee Kuan Yew.

The Prime Minister’s brother and sister have alleged on the social media forum that LHL abused his powers to prevent them from demolishing their family home – against the dying wishes of Lee Kuan Yew.

LHL has taken the extraordinary step of apologising to the city state’s citizens for the embarrassment the bitter public feud has caused, vowing to clear his name in a speech to the legislature this week, at which government MPs will be granted a rare free vote.

Lee Hsien Loong in a lighter moment with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this month. Photo: Joseph Nair / AP

“As your prime minister, I apologise to you for this. As the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive,” Lee said in a statement – also posted on Facebook.

InDaily understands he returned to the political fray after a week of rest and relaxation in the Adelaide Hills, during which he snapped the eucalypt.

“Just arrived home,” he wrote in the caption accompanying the photo.

“Read many of your comments and glad to have met some Singaporeans overseas too. Back to work on Monday. – LHL”

He added that the picture depicted “a tall tree basking in the golden hour in Adelaide… photo by me”.

His post drew sympathetic comments from Singaporeans, with one telling him: “Hope you push on from this unfortunate episode. LKY trusted you. We trusted him. Now, we also trust you.”

Another responded: “Without taking sides or getting involved in this I wish you all the best and I think that you seem to be a very good person and a good Prime Minister… I feel Singapore should be very glad to have you.”

The exact location of the tree is not clear, but the State Government can be glad for the inadvertent tourism plug in Asia.

Even if it comes amid a drama of which one social media commenter noted: “This is worse than the Kardashians!”

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